People celebrate after the World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola-free, Monrovia, Liberia, May 11, 2015 (AP photo by Abbas Dulleh).

Last month, a warlord turned senator in Liberia named Prince Johnson kicked off his candidacy for next year’s presidential election with a sharp denunciation of sexual minorities and those who defend them. “A government under our watch will never, ever accept gay rights,” said Johnson, who is best known for his role in wartime atrocities, including the torture and killing of President Samuel Doe in 1990. “Liberia is not Sodom and Gomorrah.” The statement, and the attention it received from local journalists, was consistent with a campaign in which the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Liberians have taken […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arriving at the national palace, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Oct. 11, 2016 (AP photo by Mulugeta Ayene).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Africa last week, traveling to Mali, Niger and Ethiopia. Issues of security dominated her visit to Mali, while migration was central to her trip to Niger. In Ethiopia, Merkel focused on security dialogue with the African Union, but her expression of support for greater democratization in the country was equally important. Merkel was notably blunter about Ethiopia’s authoritarianism than U.S. President Barack Obama and American diplomats, suggesting Germany’s potential as a mediator and advocate for political rights on the continent. Historically, Germany has not had nearly the same interest in Africa as France, Britain and […]

President Joseph Kabila during a parade to celebrate Congo's independence from Belgium, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, June 30, 2015 (AP photo by John Bompengo).

Last month, more than 50 protesters were killed in two days of clashes with security forces in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The protesters had taken to the streets with a clear message: The country’s presidential election must be held as soon as possible, and President Joseph Kabila must step down on Dec. 19 when his term officially expires. Although the city’s authorities had authorized the demonstration, it was violently suppressed by the police and the republican guard. Having lost faith in their government since the rigged 2011 elections when Kabila was controversially re-elected, the […]

Cape Verde's president, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, addresses the U.N. Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio de Janeiro, June 20, 2014 (U.N. photo by Guilherme Costa).

On Oct. 2, Cape Verde’s president, Jorge Carlos Fonseca easily won re-election with 74 percent of the vote, an unsurprising result given victories by his party, the Movement for Democracy, in legislative and municipal elections earlier this year. In an email interview, Lydia Beuman, a postdoctoral fellow at Dublin City University, discusses politics in Cape Verde. WPR: What were the main issues that dominated the recent presidential election in Cape Verde? Lydia Beuman: The constitution of Cape Verde defines the president as the head of state and the guardian of the constitution. The president has limited executive powers but can, […]

Cote d'Ivoire's President Alassane Ouattara during an interview, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Oct. 29, 2015 (AP photo by Schalk van Zuydam).

Last week, Cote d’Ivoire’s parliament approved the draft of a new constitution that President Alassane Ouattara says will “turn the page” on the country’s “successive crises,” and offer a “new social pact.” That’s because the new draft makes good on his 2015 campaign promise to lift the restriction on presidential candidates with dual nationality, a deep-rooted source of social tension in a country with a large immigrant population. Ouattara himself had previously been barred from running for president, due to speculation that his father was born in Burkina Faso. Ivoirians will vote on the new charter in a national referendum […]

Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi enters the court room to hear the verdict of the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands, Sept. 27, 2016 (AP photo by Bas Czerwinski).

Late last month, judges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued a landmark verdict, sentencing Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, a Malian member of a jihadi group tied to al-Qaida, to nine years in prison for the destruction of sacred mausoleums in Timbuktu. For the first time, the ICC prosecuted the destruction of cultural heritage as a war crime, sending a powerful message of international condemnation against the growing use of attacks on cultural heritage as a weapon during war. Prosecuting the destruction of the Timbuktu mausoleums was a way to respond through law rather than force to similar devastation […]

Presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo addresses supporters during a rally, Accra, Ghana, Dec. 11, 2012 (AP photo by Gabriela Barnuevo).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss Belarus’ opening toward the West, the slow wheels of transitional justice in Burkina Faso, and the outlook for Peru under President Pablo Kuczynski. For the Report, Dorina Bekoe joins us to talk about the growing risk of instability in Ghana ahead of the December presidential election. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant Articles on WPR: Belarus’ Lukashenko Gestures Toward Openness in a Bid to Impress the West Two Years After Compaore’s Ouster, the Wheels of Justice Turn Slowly in Burkina Faso With a Strong […]

People gather as they await the announcement of a new interim leader, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Oct. 31, 2014 (AP photo by Theo Renaut).

In mid-September, Luc Adolphe Tiao, the last prime minister of Burkina Faso’s former president, Blaise Compaore, became the first official to be jailed for the shootings of unarmed demonstrators during the popular insurrection that ousted Compaore in 2014. Tiao, who was believed to have signed an order authorizing troops to fire into huge crowds of protesters two years ago, was formally indicted on murder charges and taken into custody. With Compaore in exile in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire, beyond the immediate reach of Burkina Faso’s courts, it has taken nearly two years for anyone in his government to be locked up […]

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama speaks during his inauguration ceremony, Accra, Ghana, Jan. 7, 2013 (AP photo by Gabriela Barnuevo).

On Dec. 7, 2016, Ghanaians are scheduled to vote in the country’s seventh general election since the return of multiparty politics in 1992, when Ghana transitioned from military to civilian rule. Ghana is considered to be one of Africa’s most mature democracies. Presidential term limits are firmly in place. Political power has peacefully alternated between the country’s two main parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Electoral disputes have generally been resolved through the electoral commission or the courts, and not through violent means. Ghana is often praised for its stability, peace and democratic development. […]